WHIRLWIND ROMANCE by Sam Thompson (COVER REVEAL)
We’re delighted to be back at Fantasy Hive with an exciting cover reveal for our first release of 2022, Sam Thompson’s Whirlwind Romance.
“Twelve years ago he had met Fern and the things had arrived, nameless then, crooning and sniggering as they swarmed around her, scrabbling at the catches of what was real.”
The walls of our world are thin, and in places they start to break down. A new love affair awakens a host of malignant things on the fringes of a young man’s vision. An academic uncovers an ancient song with the power to change reality. A violent computer game turns into an obsession, bleeding into the waking world. This debut collection from Sam Thompson (Communion Town, longlisted for the Booker Prize) explores the cracks in the fabric of our existence, the hinterlands where the mundane meets the strange. Drawing upon writers like Robert Aickman and Thomas Ligotti, Whirlwind Romance creates a landscape all its own – a place where a single moment can be the catalyst to turn the very nature of reality upside down.
Breath-taking, poetic, and yet shot through with an unsettling darkness, it confirms Thompson’s place as a major talent.
Vince Haig, cover designer says:
“An interesting aspect of this project was being provided with two pieces of art by Guenter Zimmermann. One featured a masked woman pausing near a doorway. In the next room there was an empty chair and the shadow on the wall suggested that the body of someone had been hung from the ceiling. The second piece of artwork was identical except the hanging figure was present in all his sagging glory. One was more literal, one perhaps too subtle, both shared a slightly off-centre composition, prioritising the jumble of the hanged man’s room over the people who might be inhabiting it.
I was given both pieces of art and free reign to use whichever I preferred – or both, if it was feasible. That sort of opportunity felt unique to me. The stories in Sam Thompson’s collection are both literary and deeply weird – at home with the minutiae of everyday life at one moment and swarming with monsters the next. It seemed appropriate, therefore, for one of the images to haunt the other. The bold and broken title treatment serving as a scrying glass to glimpse what shouldn’t really be seen.”
Author, Sam Thompson says:
“I’m very excited to share the cover for my story collection Whirlwind Romance. I don’t quite know how Guenter Zimmermann and Vince Haig have managed to create a design that so perfectly captures the spirit of the book. Guenter’s digital painting shows an ambiguous scene, filled with menace but also with promise: the rooms are shabby, but they are flooded with sunlight; the masked woman is turning as if she has sensed something in the empty room behind her; and the room is not exactly empty, because we can see a shadow on the wall. No one is there to cast the shadow, but Vince has used the title lettering to give us a glimpse into the parallel world where the hanging (or floating) figure exists. I love this design not only because it’s so beautifully uncanny, but because, for me, its double vision is the heart of Whirlwind Romance. The people in these stories go through commonplace experiences: they work and play, they fall in love, they have babies, they struggle free of childhood only to discover they’re middle-aged, they cope with physical and mental illness, they live through a global disaster that alters the texture of reality as we know it. But it’s in the dream-life, hidden behind these everyday surfaces, that the real stories are taking place – in the strange space where this cover invites us to go.”
Sam Thompson is the author of the novels Communion Town, Jott and Wolfstongue. His work has been longlisted for the Booker Prize and shortlisted for the Encore Prize. His short fiction has appeared in the anthologies The Black Dreams (Blackstaff Press), Out of the Darkness (Unsung Stories), Best British Short Stories 2019 (Salt Publishing) and Still Worlds Turning (No Alibis Press), and on BBC Radio, among other places. He grew up in the south of England and now lives in Belfast, where he teaches writing at Queen’s University.
Whirlwind Romance will be released in April 2022.
Available for pre-order from